Facing the Gods

Facing the Gods : Epiphany and Representation in Graeco-Roman Art, Literature and Religion

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This is the first history of epiphany as both a phenomenon and a cultural discourse within the Graeco-Roman world. It explores divine manifestations and their representations both in art and in literary, historical and epigraphic accounts. The cultural analysis of epiphany is set within a historical framework that examines its development from the archaic period to the Roman Empire. In particular, a surprisingly large number of the images that have survived from antiquity are not only religious but epiphanically charged. Verity Platt argues that the enduring potential for divine incursions into mortal experience provides a reliable cognitive structure that supports both ancient religion and mythology. At the same time, Graeco-Roman culture exhibits a sophisticated awareness of the difficulties in apprehending deity and representing divine presence, and of the potential for the manmade sign to lead the worshipper back to an unmediated epiphanic encounter.

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  • Hardback | 502 pages
  • 180 x 248 x 30mm | 1,138.51g
  • CambridgeUnited Kingdom
  • English
  • 51 b/w illus.
  • 0521861713
  • 9780521861717
  • 1,387,162

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'Original and important.' The Times Literary Supplement '... a stimulating, wide-ranging work that that should be of interest to all those studying the classical world; it will certainly become standard reading for anyone with an interest in Greek religion, Greek and Roman iconography, or the literary and philosophical discourses of the Second Sophistic. Elegantly written and argued.' Jenny Wallensten, Time and Mind

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About Verity Platt

Verity Platt is Associate Professor in the Departments of Classics and Art History at Cornell University, having previously taught at the Universities of Exeter and Chicago. Her research interests include attitudes to the sacred image in antiquity, ancient theories of representation, the relationship between image and text, and Roman wall-painting and funerary art. This is her first book.

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